Psalm 47:1-2, 7-9: Oh clap your hands, all you nations. Shout to God with the voice of triumph! For Yahweh Most High is awesome. He is a great King over all the earth…For God is the King of all the earth. Sing praises with understanding. God reigns over the nations. God sits on his holy throne. The princes of the peoples are gathered together, the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God. He is greatly exalted!
This psalm is one that captures the essence of the grand scope of the Bible: God will reign supreme over his Creation. All peoples of his Creation will abide by the principles of his kingdom. This is a message filled with hope and a longing that is fulfilled.
At the foot of Mount Sinai, God conveyed this concept of his kingdom being prevalent on the earth.
Exodus 19:5-6 – Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.”
Ever since God’s revelation of himself at Sinai, God’s people have longed for that promised kingdom to come to pass. It was the basis of national Israel and the hope for every king since the time of King David. Generation after generation of Israelites and Christians have looked for this to come to pass.
In the prophetic language of Isaiah, the consummation of the world’s acceptance of God’s rule over the whole earth is envisioned:
Isaiah 2:2-4 – In the last days, the mountain of Yahweh’s house will be the highest of all–the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For Yahweh’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. Yahweh will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.
Isaiah 60:3 – Nations will come to your light, and kings to your shining brightness.
Albert Barnes writes:
The image [in Psalm 47] is that of the assemblage of great numbers of foreign princes and nobles as furnishing either a voluntary or involuntary acknowledgment of the fact that the God of Abraham was the true God, and that the people of Israel were his people…one who can thus subdue nations, and lead along captive princes and warriors, “must” be a Being greatly exalted; a Being that has dominion over the nations of the earth. This completes the imagery in the psalm, and gives occasion for the shouts and the joys of triumph. God had shown that he was a great King over the earth. Princes and armies were subdued to his will. They were led along as captives, and were gathered together to the people of God, as if to acknowledge their own inferiority; and in this solemn manner the nations thus subdued owned Yahweh to be the true God. In a higher sense this will be true when all the earth shall be subdued by the power of truth, and when kings, and princes, and people everywhere shall come and acknowledge God, reigning through the Messiah, to be the King of all nations.
The Pulpit Commentary concludes:
He is greatly exalted. The perfect submission to God of all his rational creatures is his highest exaltation and glory. When “all people bow down before him,” and “all nations do him service,” when rebellion and resistance to his will are at an end, then will he be established in his rightful position, and his exaltation will be complete.
Our understanding of this inevitability should provide motivation for us to continue to reach out to our generation with the truth of God and his Messiah. Each heart that is won will draw us closer to the fulfillment of this bright future of peace for all people everywhere.
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